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Castle licence

Castle

If you wanted to build a castle in medieval England, you needed permission from the king. They’re supposed to be for the defence of the realm, but sometimes you just want to fake out the neighbours.

Sea Peoples

Sea Peoples

Around 1200 BCE, almost every civilisation in the Eastern Mediterranean collapsed, or just barely survived. One possible culprit were invaders from across the sea: the Sea Peoples. No-one knows precisely who they were.

The Oxford “er”

Oxford

I say, after brekkers do you want to see if Tollers from the Bodder wants to play some rugger or soccer for eccer? This “er” slang abbreviation came from Oxford University, where it has been in use since the 19th century.

Gotham origin story

Gotham

Batman lives in Gotham City. Where did the name come from? Its history follows a circuitous route via the 19th century equivalent of Mad magazine, smart idiots who hated public infrastructure, goats, and Robin Hood’s King John.

Roving bridge

Roving bridge

Horse-drawn canal boats made up the early British Industrial Revolution’s transportation network. But they presented a tough problem: how to get a horse from one bank of a canal to another, without disconnecting the rope?